CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Capital High School baseball Coach Robert Massey finds himself directing traffic more than he did last season when the Cougars were mostly made up of seniors.
When the Cougars take the field, only four players remain in the dugout. Of the nine who take up positions on the diamond, only two are seniors.
"Every time we go out there, it's seven sophomores," Massey said. "We only have 13 guys on our whole roster. We're one of the only teams in triple A that doesn't have a JV team. We just don't have the numbers."
The Cougars are 4-10 and on a five-game losing streak - that includes a doubleheader sweep by Region 3 rival Princeton.
The good news is that not only are the seniors, Tyler McClaskie and Taylor Fisher, doing their part, sophomore Justin Palmer is as well.
Palmer, the team's No. 4 hitter and second baseman, is hitting a team-leading .462 with only three strikeouts.
McClaskie is hitting .324 with nine RBI, and Fisher batting .442 with two home runs and leads the team in runs (15) and doubles (5).
However, the rest of the lineup is batting a combined .261 with 24 RBI.
That doesn't mean there isn't talent on the team.
The roster includes sophomore Seth Roadcap, a shortstop and son of Major League scout Steve Roadcap.
"There's a learning curve," said Massey, the Cougars' sixth-year coach and former Nitro assistant. "We have seven kids in our lineup that don't even drive playing against 18 year olds. You have kids going out there and seeing somebody that maybe made All-State last year or all-conference and saying, 'My gosh, I didn't even play junior varsity last year.'
"But, these are good kids. They work hard, come to workouts every day. We had 13 kids every day in workouts and we have 13 kids here. That says a lot about these kids."
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GEORGE WASHINGTON senior Joe Wong figured he would be concentrating on pitching this season, not making a run at the state home run record.
Wong hit three home runs at the Mingo Bay Classic in Myrtle Beach, bringing his season total to 11 in 14 games.
"I'm just seeing every pitch anybody is throwing to me right now," said Wong, who has 15 games listed in the regular season and the postseason to set the single-season home run record held by former Capital High School star David Smith - who had 16 in 1998. "I don't want to get my head too big."
Wong was aware of the home run record because Smith, who played for the Charleston Alley Cats after a sterling career at Capital, was Wong's hitting instructor before his sophomore and junior seasons.
"I actually talked to David and he said if there was anybody to break it, he would like it to be me," Wong said.
Wong is taking instruction from former New York Mets farmhand Caleb Stewart.
He was the No. 2 hitter in the GW lineup before being moved to the cleanup spot. Wong said he has "no idea" how many of his home runs have come on curveballs, but he has been able to pick them up early.
"You can definitely tell the difference between a fastball and a curveball," he said.
The Patriots visit Lincoln County tonight before traveling to Quincy to face Riverside on Tuesday. GW's next home game is at 1 p.m. Friday in the Ed Carter Memorial Tournament against Winfield.
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HURRICANE senior Drew Lawrence has a lot of faith in the Redskins' pitching staff, even if there isn't a Sam Kmiec in the rotation.